MELBOURNE/STARNBERG, January 12, 2024
Only two days ahead of the start of the first Grand-Slam tournament of the 2024 season, World No.1 Iga Swiatek visited her favourite Melbourne coffee shop on Flinders Lane this morning for a flat white and a chat about her love of coffee, Melbourne and the Australian Open.
The 22-year-old Pole, who has started the season undefeated, will face 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in her opening match at Melbourne Park. In their only prior meeting, Swiatek beat the US-American in straight sets to clinch the French Open title at Roland Garros four years ago.
“It kind of strikes me sometimes that my first Grand Slam final was against Sofia and now we’re playing in the first round,” Swiatek told reporters, quoted by the WTA. “It’s pretty weird. That’s how our life journeys kind of went apart.”
Sabalenka tests out Emirates Sky Cadet ChallengeMeanwhile, 2023 Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka joined Craig Tiley for the preview of the AO Ballpark presented by Emirates this morning. Sabalenka was the first to test out the Emirates Sky Cadet Challenge before Tiley gave it a go along with a group of lucky kids that were invited to the preview.
— Kristie Sullivan (@kristiesulliv) January 12, 2024
“I was a bit nervous because I wasn’t sure that construction could handle my weight,” the 25-year-old laughed of her adventure at the wonderland. “That’s the only thing I was worried about. But it was fun.”
Sabalenka will start her Melbourne campaign with a first-round meeting with 18-year-old German qualifier Ella Seidel.